It's a dull gray Minnesota morning. My mood reflects the day. Meditation practice has been slipping some lately, and I've been neglecting the writing.
As I start my morning run along the river, I'm struck by how barren everything seems. No birds chirping, no dogs barking, not a soul on the trail. In an attempt to push away the gloom, I decide to try a running meditation. On the in-breath, I open the soles of my feet to the nurturing energy of Mother Earth and, with an upward (palms up) movement of my wool-mittened hands, I bring that energy up through my body. On the out-breath, I push the hands downward (palms down), connecting and grounding myself in the energy of Earth.
Gloom and gray quietly fade, as the various shades of brown – dirt, leaves, and grasses – grow more vivid, and the trail before me comes into sharper focus. I notice the bits of green that still hang on and tiny patches of snow left over from Saturday's storm. As I continue to connect, there's a moment when separation ceases. I have a brief taste of oneness, before self-consciousness pushes it away – a gift, I can't grab back.
Further down the trail, I think: "Hey, I can write about this". Rehearsal replaces meditation. After a minute or so of that, a stump on the path trips me. Ok, I get it: I'm being reminded to let go of rehearsal. In another fifty yards, I'm rehearsing again – only to find myself bombarded by chaff or seeds of some sort falling down on me from a tree above. Again, I receive life's invitation to return to now.
Toward the end of the run, I notice again my focus on the path, how I'm attending to just what's in front of me. I'm heartened. Lately, I've been focusing on focusing and feeling the joy of that practice.
I decide to look around. Dozens of geese and ducks are floating in the shallows of the river, sheltering themselves in tall, tan grasses. Soft light reflects on river's ripples. Naked branches stand out vividly from a gray-sky background, which somehow doesn't seem dull anymore.
I'm surrounded by beauty. I'm reminded of connection and love.